Friday, April 15, 2016

"It’s this culture of worshipping self-censorship over freedom of thought and frankness of debate that is damaging public life..."

Charlie Hebdo, Terrorism, and the Culture of 'You Can't Say That' - "The strangling of free, open commentary on Islam—and on various other ideologies—has had an impact that is as predictable as it is dire. First, it has encouraged certain, usually hard-right sections of European society to harbour a deep, necessarily unspoken suspicion of Islam; to wonder why they may not openly mock it; and to develop, in some cases, a conspiracy theory which sees Islam as the single-handed despoiler of European civilization. 

Secondly it nurtures a victim culture within some Islamist quarters and among young Muslims in particular, who now grow up in societies in which the law, politicians, and intellectuals all give the impression that criticism of Islam is wicked. The elevation of Islam above the realm of testy, frank discussion has the unwitting effect of making some Europeans feel more antsy about Islam while cultivating a sense of psychic vulnerability among some Muslims, who bristle and balk and sometimes respond violently to ridicule of their religious beliefs. 

It is this moral sheepishness, not Muslims, which Charlie Hebdo blames for Brussels. Where its editorial talks about the "veiled woman" in our local town or the baker who refuses to serve ham, it isn’t blaming these ordinary Muslims for terror; it’s simply asking if we should be allowed to have open, critical debate about their cultural habits, about the veil and other things. Where the editorial says that something like Brussels cannot happen "without everyone’s contribution," it is talking about Europe itself, not Muslims. 

It is talking about "the dread" of open debate, "the dread of being treated as an Islamophobe or being called racist," which, it says, makes public life in Europe less open, less honest, and more prickly. It’s right. 

And how have Charlie’s critics responded to its critique of the culture of "You Can’t Say That?" By saying to the mag: "You can’t say that." Charlie’s editorial is an "anti-religion rant," said Salon. To which the only reasonable response is: So what? Why shouldn’t people be anti-religion? The anti-Charlie set isn't about protecting Muslims from harm; it’s about protecting Islam from rebuke. The real problem in Europe today is not so much Islamophobia, though anti-Muslim sentiment certainly exists; it’s Charliephobia, if we take this term to mean the fear of letting a magazine, or anyone else for that matter, dissent from PC orthodoxy, reject relativism, and engage in robust discussion about any worldview they choose. 

It’s this culture of worshipping self-censorship over freedom of thought and frankness of debate that is damaging public life and brewing communal tension and in some cases violence. Indeed, I would say that the campaign against Islamophobia has done more to foster awkwardness and bitterness in 21st-century Europe than Islamophobia has. So yes, a mask has slipped. The Charliephobes’ mask. Their claim to be against "punching down," to care about ordinary, vulnerable people, has been exposed as utter bunkum. In truth, they’re all about protecting a global religion, an ideology, from ridicule, and in the process they’re doing more damage to freedom and social solidarity in Europe than they could ever understand...

The editorial, titled "How Did We End Up Here?", is really about the culture of intellectual caution and suffocating non-judgmentalism sweeping 21st-century Europe (and much of the West.) If the mag blames anything for Brussels, it’s this censorious culture. It suggests the most rotten thing in Europe right now is the PC cult of self-censorship, the widespread "aversion to causing controversy" and "fear of contraction or objection," especially around Islam. It says the Brussels attack was "the end of a philosophical line already begun," a line which tells us to "hold your tongues… give up discussing, debating, contradicting or contesting." 

This "philosophical line," this culture of frowning upon and sometimes even punishing criticism of Islam, is deeply entrenched in Europe. In France, as Charlie Hebdo discovered in 2007 when it was taken to court under anti-racism laws for the crime of publishing Muhammad-mocking cartoons, you can actually be arrested for ripping the piss out of Islam. More informally, the idea of "Islamophobia"—which treats everything from opposition to the burqa to discomfort with the Koran as evidence of a swirling, hate-fuelled fear of Muslims—keeps criticism of Islam in check. In Charlie Hebdo’s view, this erection of a ridicule-deflecting force-field around Islam has a terrible impact on community life in Europe..."

"I interpret “incomplete publication” as a polite version of scientists are freakin’ liars."

Eating Red Meat, Cheese, Butter, Pork and Cream Is Not a Death Sentence After All - Hit & Run : "Eating plant-based oils did reduce cholesterol levels in participants assigned to that diet. While original researchers back in the 1970s did not find any effect on heart disease trends, they believed that had their experiment gone on that the benefits from lowering cholesterol would have eventually emerged. The results of the study were never fully published, although the researchers reported some of their preliminary results at a American Heart Association conference 1975. So why were the results of a such rigorous study not published widely? 

The BMJ study also cites biostatistician Steven Broste, who used the Minnesota data in his master's thesis back in 1981, which found no significant difference in mortality rates in the saturated fats versus unsaturated fats cohorts. 

According to the Washington Post, Broste suggests ... ...that at least part of the reason for the incomplete publication of the data might have been human nature. The Minnesota investigators had a theory that they believed in — that reducing blood cholesterol would make people healthier. Indeed, the idea was widespread and would soon be adopted by the federal government in the first dietary recommendations. So when the data they collected from the mental patients conflicted with this theory, the scientists may have been reluctant to believe what their experiment had turned up. 

 “The results flew in the face of what people believed at the time,” said Broste. “Everyone thought cholesterol was the culprit. This theory was so widely held and so firmly believed — and then it wasn’t borne out by the data. The question then became: Was it a bad theory? Or was it bad data? ... My perception was they were hung up trying to understand the results.” 

 The BMJ data recovery and reanalysis now finds that the vegetable oil diet did lower cholesterol, but did not lower mortality or heart disease rates. In fact, for participants over age 65, lower cholesterol led to higher, rather than lower risks of death. In addition, the BMJ researchers comprehensively reviewed other controlled trials and report that they "do not provide support for the traditional diet heart hypothesis." The BMJ study is another in a growing line of research* that undermines the "heart-healthy" dietary guidelines from the federal government and that American Heart Association."

Fat Head » Another Big Fat (and old) Fail For The Lipid Hypothesis: "“Had this research been published 40 years ago, it might have changed the trajectory of diet-heart research and recommendations” said Daisy Zamora, a researcher at UNC and a lead author of the study. 
And that’s why it wasn’t published. 

The results of the study were never touted by the investigators. Partial results were presented at an American Heart Association conference in 1975, and it wasn’t until 1989 that some of the results were published, appearing in a medical journal known as Arteriosclerosis. 
Amazing. A big, expensive study is conducted to test the hypothesis that switching from saturated fats to vegetable oils will reduce heart disease by lowering cholesterol. The results show the opposite – at a time when many Americans were being encouraged to follow exactly that advice. What kind of lousy @#$%ing scientist would bury the results instead of publishing them? 

The lead investigators of the trial, noted scientists Ancel Keys and Ivan Frantz, are deceased. 

You’ve gotta love Ancel Keys. The guy conducts an observational study by giving two dietary questionnaires to a whopping 30 or so people in seven countries. From this itty bitty dataset, he decides he’s proved that saturated fats cause heart disease. Meanwhile, he tries to destroy the careers of other researchers who question his findings. Then when his own clinical study – involving thousands of patients – shows that switching to vegetable oil increases heart disease and overall mortality, he clams up and doesn’t publish the results. What an awesome scientist he was.

No wonder the researchers who crunched the “lost” Minnesota data wrote this: 
Findings from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment add to growing evidence that incomplete publication has contributed to overestimation of the benefits of replacing saturated fat with vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid. I interpret “incomplete publication” as a polite version of scientists are freakin’ liars. Naturally, researchers who’ve spent years promoting the switch from saturated fats to vegetable oils immediately called a press conference to offer their apologies and a promise to re-evaluate their positions. Kidding! Of course that didn’t happen. Here’s what did happen: 
“The bottom line is that this report adds no useful new information and is irrelevant to current dietary recommendations that emphasize replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat,” Walter Willett, chair of the nutrition department at Harvard University, said in a blog post from the school. “Many lines of evidence support this conclusion.” He characterized the new analysis of the old experiment as “an interesting historical footnote.” 

So Willett, like Ancel Keys, considers his observational studies to be rock-solid evidence, but dismisses clinical trials if the results undermine what he already “knows.” As Max Planck said, science advances one funeral at a time. Ancel Keys is dead. A few more funerals, and we may finally see the Lipid Hypothesis end up on the Scrap Heap of Wrong Ideas, where it clearly belongs."

"Forget everything that you think you know."

"...the contrast between the truly marginalized and those merely claiming victim status has become stark."

An Establishment Conservative's Guide To The Alt-Right - Breitbart: "In the past five years, left-wing identity politics underwent a renaissance just as the crisis of white males – especially young white males – in the west became obvious. As feminism entered its “fourth wave,” obsessed with trivialities like online trolling, “sexist t-shirts” and “microaggressions,” male suicide rates were reaching crisis levels. As minority advocates on college campuses raised Hell about offensive Halloween costumes and demanded safe spaces in which they could be insulated from differing points of view, working-class white males became the least likely group to attend university in the U.K. To politically alert Millennials, the contrast between the truly marginalized and those merely claiming victim status has become stark. The Establishment bears much of the blame. Had they been serious about defending humanism, liberalism and universalism, the rise of the alternative right might have been arrested. All they had to do was argue for common humanity in the face of... identity politics, for free speech in the face of the regressive Left’s censorship sprees, and for universal values in the face of left-wing moral relativism. Instead, they turned a blind eye to the rise of tribal, identitarian movements on the Left while mercilessly suppressing any hint of them on the Right. It was this double standard, more than anything else, that gave rise to the alternative right. It’s also responsible, at least in part, for the rise of Donald Trump."

'Cultural appropriation' is "how all art works: by riffing on, remixing, reinterpreting, reviving and re-sharing influences from the past."

Here's Why I'll Be Wearing a Native American Headdress Next Halloween - Breitbart: "It’s hard to overestimate how stupid the doctrine of racial and cultural appropriation is, because for one thing it’s how all art works: by riffing on, remixing, reinterpreting, reviving and re-sharing influences from the past. I almost don’t need to make this point, it’s so obvious, but here are a few questions for the idiots penning furious editorials at places such as Salon and Slate: Should the Rolling Stones have been banned, because their music was so heavily influenced by black blues artists, including Muddy Waters? Should Wagner’s Rienzi be banned from German opera houses for drawing too heavily on Jewish composer Meyerbeer? How would you go about deciding which Mariah Carey songs to ban? (Is she “black enough” to have released that “Loverboy” remix?) And what on earth do we do with Madonna and Lady Gaga?  So desperate are they for things to be cross about, social justice warriors and third-wave feminists are moving in on these sorts of questions, drawing depressingly predictable conclusions. Witness this psychotic screed–published in TIME, no less!–demanding that gay men stop acting like black women and “appropriating female black culture,” whatever that is.  That piece caused uproar–rightly so–among gay men, who asked how the author, a rich girl at a good school, dared to question the “struggle” they had gone through and how they chose to assemble the package of influences that comprise modern gay parlance and culture. Ordinarily, I’d be laughing at a left-on-left bloodbath like this: there’s nothing more entertaining than the Oppression Olympics."

"Just look at the top-grossing films of 2015. At least half of them have come under attack by social justice warriors at some point."

Entertainment Industry Says 'No More' to Social Justice Warriors: "Jurassic World was attacked by Joss Whedon for its “70s-era sexism.” It’s currently the most successful film of 2015. And then Joss Whedon himself was attacked for emphasising a female character’s infertility in Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s currently the third most successful film of 2015. Kenneth Branagh was attacked for not making his remake of Cinderella more modern and feminist-friendly. It’s currently the fifth most successful film of 2015. Fifty Shades of Grey was attacked by domestic violence activists and BDSM activists alike. It’s currently the fourth most successful film of 2015. Kingsman: The Secret Service was slammed by The Guardian as “contemptuous of women,” employing working-class stereotypes, and making a climate change activist into the bad guy. It’s currently the ninth most successful film of 2015. Even the Pixar animated family film Inside Out was accused of body-shaming by portraying a character that is the personification of sadness as “a grouchy fat lady.” It’s currently the seventh most successful film of 2015."

Milo Yiannopoulos: Breitbart’s star provocateur, Gamergater, and Trump champion, explained - Vox: ""What they really don't want, what they're terrified of — because they can't fight it with facts — is libertarian and conservative points of view," Yiannopoulos says in a recent interview with Dave Rubin. He continues, revealingly: [They want] freedom from ever being challenged on anything, that freedom from ever having to encounter something with which you might disagree, or something that might make you uncomfortable, something that might ridicule you — [that's] the definition of freedom that has taken hold on the left in America today. And it is poisonous."

"Student Suspended for Rape Because He Didn't Stop Friends from Slapping Girl's Butt." "The University of Southern California found a male student, "John Doe," responsible for sexual assault and suspended him for two years. But his alleged victim, a female student, "Jane," maintained that the sex between them was consensual.  Doe was ultimately punished, not because he hurt Jane, but because he did nothing to prevent two other males from having rough sex with her—from slapping her on the buttocks—during an orgy.  That's just one of the mind-boggling details in Doe's lawsuit against USC. A California court of appeals recently sided with Doe, agreeing that the university violated his due process rights by not giving him a chance to defend himself and ultimately convicted him. The decision also asserts that USC simply didn't have enough evidence against Doe to find him responsible.

"We agree with John that the evidence does not support the Appeals Panel‟s findings as to either violation," wrote Associate Justice Audrey Collins, on behalf of two of her colleagues. "There is no substantial evidence that John encouraged or permitted other students to slap Jane on the buttocks in violation of section 11.44C, because the evidence does not demonstrate that John knew they would slap Jane nor that John was in a position to prevent them from doing so."  The incident took place at an off-campus fraternity party in January of 2013. Doe was a member of the fraternity: the two other males who attended the part and were involved in the incident, "Student 1 and Student 2," were students at a different university. Jane attended the party with a group of friends.  After dancing together, Jane, Doe, and Student 1 went off to a bedroom together to have sex. All agree that this encounter was consensual, according to the court's decision.  Later that evening, Jane and Doe returned to the bedroom to have sex again. Jane maintains that their sexual activity remained consensual, but other men—likely including Students 1 and 2—entered the room and also began performing sexual acts on Jane. These activities became rough, and culminated in one or two of the men—not Doe—slapping her butt.  

At no point did Jane tell any of the men to stop, but she did begin to cry after the slapping. All sexual activity then ceased. Jane later texted Doe that she had a good time with him, but "your friends suck though." She approached him again at a party some weeks later, but he declined to dance with her.  Months later, in August of 2014—after discussing her "confidence issues" with a counsellor—Jane decided that the incident constituted sexual assault and filed a complaint. Still, she maintained that she had consented to sex with Doe: it was the other men who had violated her.  USC disagreed, and accused Doe of violating 11 different sections of the student code of conduct, including "endangering the health of others," "engaging in obscene behavior at a university-sponsored event," and "engaging in non-consensual sexual touching."

Consider that for a moment. Jane said her sexual activity with Doe was consensual. The university then made the paternalistic and indefensible decision to override her opinion on the matter and described their sex as rape anyway.  The investigation process involved many of the same drawbacks common to university sexual misconduct cases: a process biased against the accused, limited methods for the accused to examine the evidence against him, or even the charges, etc. He was eventually found responsible on nine of the 11 charges and suspended for two years.  Doe appealed the decision to USC's Student Behavior Appeals Panel. Jane, despite describing her encounter with Doe as consensual, wrote a letter to the panel in support of his suspension:  Jane submitted a letter detailing the difficulties she had experienced after the incident, which she characterized as a rape. She also stated that she is uncomfortable on campus knowing that John was still there, and concluded, “I do not believe that the University is enforcing its Title IX responsibilities for responding effectively and immediately to reports of sexual harassment, or quelling what is currently a hostile environment. I expect that the University will hold [sic] its original decision for my case in order to ensure my safety, comfort, and peace on this campus.”  

...To be frank, the accusation is among the more dubious ones I've ever read about. Doe and his accuser, "Jane Roe," met during an impromptu gathering at a mutual friend's dorm on August 22, 2014. They first had sex that very night. They exchanged friendly text messages the next day, which were later provided as evidence in Doe's favor at his hearing, according to the judge's decision. They eventually had sex a second time. Some days after that, Roe visited Doe in his room and discovered another woman sitting on his bed. Roe left immediately. They had sex two more times after that—Roe was the initiator both times, according to the mutually agreed upon facts of the case. 

But on November 6, 2014, the university informed Doe that someone had accused him of sexual misconduct..."

Judge Sides with Gay Brandeis Student Guilty of 'Serious Sexual Transgression' for Kissing Sleeping Boyfriend - Hit & Run : "A judge rebuked Brandeis University for denying fundamental due process rights to a student who was found guilty of sexual misconduct for a variety of non-violent offenses: most notably, because he had awakened his then-boyfriend with nonconsensual kisses.  The process that Brandeis employed to investigate the matter was "essentially secret and inquisitorial," according to Dennis Saylor, a federal judge who ruled that the accused student's lawsuit against Brandeis should continue.  This is a significant victory for advocates of due process in campus sexual misconduct investigations. It's also an implicit skewering of affirmative consent as official policy. The accused, "John Doe," was found responsible for stolen kisses, suggestive touches, and a wandering eye—all within the context of an established sexual relationship. His former partner and accuser, J.C., did not file a complaint with the university until well after the incidents took place. In fact, J.C.'s participation in Brandeis' "sexual assault training" program caused him to re-evaluate the relationship. "

Are 1 in 5 Women Raped at College? - YouTube: "Is it true that 1 in 5 women are raped on America's college campuses? If so, what does that say about our universities and the people who run them? If not, how did that statistic get into the mainstream? Caroline Kitchens, Senior Research Associate at the American Enterprise Institute, looks at the data and explains the very significant results. "

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


4/13 - shadowbox
4/12 - stretch, walk
4/11 - deadlift, press, chins, dips, curls, bw row, mobility/foam roll
4/10 - pushups, stretch

LIFT-RUN-BANG: Ode and origins: "People ignore simple training methods, because "there has to be a better way".  It's too simple.  I often think that most people that post on the internet that "train" (DYEL?) are more what I call, lifting intellectuals, than actual lifters.  They like to talk about training, and they like training methods that are fucking complex because, well, that gives them a lot of shit to talk about. So this kind of shit, the kind that Jim was writing about, was too simple for them.   Work harder?   Add more weight to the bar?   Do more reps?   What are these things you speak of?   There has to be a "better" way.  That's an inferior path. Who the fuck said? Why does there have to be a better way?  Because you aren't strong?  Someone is hiding something secret program from you?  Here's the real secret, no one is hiding anything.  And there isn't anything special about bands or chains or foam or special bars.  You can get as fucking strong and as developed as you're ever going to get with a very limited amount of equipment, and an unlimited amount of yearning to get better. Fucking fact.   But no one wants to really say that anymore. "

The Primal Transplant: A Story of Living with New Lungs, a New Lifestyle, and Swinging Kettlebells | Mark's Daily Apple: "By October I had lowered my BMI to 28, the maximum BMI to be considered for a lung transplant at UT Southwestern in Dallas. During the transplant evaluation they found that outside of my lungs, I was very healthy. I passed the evaluation and was placed on the transplant list in November. I continued to lose weight, exercise as I could, and try to keep as healthy as possible. On December 31st I was called into the hospital, and early January 1st, I received a bilateral lung transplant. The procedure went very well and my recovery was amazingly quick. I was released from the hospital after only nine days. That is exceptionally quick. Most lung transplant stays are at least twice that. I credit following the PB to my quick recovery. My core strength was good for the condition the rest of my body was in. I had worked hard to build a good gut bug colony, and I think they really helped me out there. I had also lost more weight, so it was easier for me to get out of bed and do physical therapy quickly."

Monday, April 11, 2016

"Jane, you ignorant slut."

"This is the deal. You disobey me, you die." #SKWAD

True Story.

Kurdish fighter Ceylan Özalp reported alive: "Like the followers of the Islamic State, most Kurds are Sunni Muslims. But that is where the similarities end. Diren says that, to the fanatics of IS, a female fighter is “haram”, anathema: a disturbing and scary sight. “When they see a woman with a gun, they’re so afraid they begin to shake. They portray themselves as tough guys to the world. But when they see us with our guns they run away. They see a woman as just a small thing. But one of our women is worth a hundred of their men.”"

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Moderation is meaningless.

PubMed - NCBI - How do people define moderation? : "Eating in moderation is considered to be sound and practical advice for weight maintenance or prevention of weight gain. However, the concept of moderation is ambiguous, and the effect of moderation messages on consumption has yet to be empirically examined. The present manuscript examines how people define moderate consumption. We expected that people would define moderate consumption in ways that justified their current or desired consumption rather than view moderation as an objective standard. In Studies 1 and 2, moderate consumption was perceived to involve greater quantities of an unhealthy food (chocolate chip cookies, gummy candies) than perceptions of how much one should consume. In Study 3, participants generally perceived themselves to eat in moderation and defined moderate consumption as greater than their personal consumption. Furthermore, definitions of moderate consumption were related to personal consumption behaviors. Results suggest that the endorsement of moderation messages allows for a wide range of interpretations of moderate consumption. Thus, we conclude that moderation messages are unlikely to be effective messages for helping people maintain or lose weight."

Everybody defines "moderate" differently, rendering it useless.  Usually to excuse poor choices and excuse making.